Tweed Coffee Roasters in Dallas is expanding. Though it's one of the more recognizable Dallas coffee brands, Tweed has had a fairly nomadic existence over the past 18 months‚ roasting out of Cultivar Coffee’s east side roastery while the company figured out the hows and wheres of finding a permanent homestead. Tweed has since found that home, a 5,000 square foot warehouse in Dallas’ uptown-adjacent Design District. It’s a massive space with a lot of room for growth, and owner Sean Henry already has ideas on how to fill it up.
Upon entering the building, one must navigate a veritable maze of peculiarities left by previous tenants before accessing the actual roasting space. There’s the façade of an old barn on the southern wall of the entryway, complete with ladder and a rusted metal replica of a cow’s skull; the ladder has been converted into a shrine to previous roasts and their various brightly colored labels. There’s a giant neon Budweiser sign (requiring its own giant transformer). And there’s a voice-over booth, apropos of nothing. I’m not sure who this voice-acting cowboy that used to reside here is, but I’m pretty sure he’s someone I want to meet.
In the back is the roasting den, where room for growth is most evident. The 3,000 square foot room is pretty bare, empty enough for Razor scooters and longboards to be viable modes of transportation from one end of the rectangular roastery to the next. The Giesen 15 kilo roaster sits in the northern corner, next to a garage-style door that opens to reveal an excellent view of the downtown Dallas skyline. Three rows of green coffee beans line the path to the Giesen. The longboard isn’t nimble enough to navigate the sharper turns in this portion of the obstacle course, though—stick to the Razor.
Closest to the roastery entrance is a dark wood U-shaped bar. Currently being used as the packaging facility, the bar will be used to host cuppings and roastery tours in the near future. Henry hopes these tours—called the Den@Ten, and taking place at 10am—will help further rouse involvement in the surging coffee movement. “We want to open our doors to host people. We hope it will be a way to encourage more engagement with coffee lovers and novices. Coffee is good, so we just want to share it.”
As part of this next stage in their expansion, Tweed is completely overhauling its packaging. The new bags won’t be rolled out until next month, but Henry gave us an exclusive sneak peek at the striking new look. Each bag has one of three main colors—yellow, green, or blue—that designates whether it is a single origin, standing blend, or a seasonal blend, respectively. In keeping with the pattern motif from sister cafe Houndstooth Coffee, the white bags feature a grey tweed pattern made from tiny iterations of the brand’s fox logo. The randomly colored bands on the top of the bag provide information about the coffee and provide a final pop of color. “Conceptually, the goal has always been to help the bag stand out on a retail shelf,” Henry told me. “We hope this will help them fly off the shelves for our wholesale partners.”
2014 has been good to Henry and Tweed—Houndstooth’s opening in Dallas, its first non-Austin location, roaster Jonathan Aldrich’s qualifying for the US Brewers Cup, giving Tweed its first appearance in the national level of competition, and now the roastery. And though the warehouse greatly outsizes Tweed’s current operation, it won’t for long. As they develop more direct trade relationships, many already in the works for 2015, and partner with new retail outlets across Texas and nationally, they hope those rows of green coffee are going to multiply. Soon enough, the obstacle course will be arduous and serpentine, only navigable by the nimblest of child’s locomotive toys. Sorry, longboards, but 2015 is the year of the Big Wheel.
Photos by Cara Michelle Smith for Sprudge.com.